Soil testing is typically done for all types of construction. Consider a residential subdivision as an example. There would be a series of tests done over the entire building site to get a better understanding of the expected soil on the site. This exploratory information is used determine what , if any , additional testing is needed for infrastructure (roads and sidewalks) and what tests are needed for a home foundation. In both cases the goal is to determine what loads the soil can support. If the soil does not support the expected loads (trucks , cars , homes , etc.) , modifications can be made to the soil. An alternative would be to build suitable foundations to support the proposed loads. Expected loads are calculated and evaluated for each site and use.
Exploratory information includes borings at various depths. Further inspection by a soil engineer occurs once the site is excavated. Beyond concerns about weight , groundwater may also be an issue on-site. In some cases , the presence of groundwater could negate the design of a basement for the home. There can also be regulations for the minimum distance between the foundation and the groundwater.